22
Apr
12

Eagle in Flight and Earth Day

I didn’t have much luck photographing eagles this weekend and with the work-week fast approaching this evening will probably be the last opportunity until next weekend.

IMG_2616a

A photo of an eagle still seems an appropriate tribute for Earth Day.

Earth Day started here in Wisconsin as the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970.  At that time, due to the widespread use of an insecticide called DDT, bald eagles had reached near extinction in Wisconsin with fewer than fifty eagles left in the wild, while having ceased to exist in the rest of the United States lower forty-eight states.  Alaska and Canada were about the only places you could see them.

DDT was used throughout WWII and afterward to rid us of mosquitoes.  Unfortunately, DDT would runoff into lakes and other waterways where it would be absorbed into fish or ingested by fish when eating infested insects.  Eagles would then eat the fish.  They are great fishers and if you’ve ever witnessed them capture and eat a fish while in flight then you know it is an amazing feat.  The DDT would then affect the eagle’s eggshells, causing them to easily break when the eagles attempted to rest on the eggs.  When scientists discovered the link between DDT and the near-extinction of eagles and other birds, the environmental movement of the late sixties and early seventies fought for and successfully got the chemical banned in the US in 1972.

Since then bald eagles have steadily recovered with what is believed to be well over two thousand nesting pairs in Wisconsin.  The recovery has been so successful Wisconsin has a program in place where it captures eagles and attempts to transplant them in other areas of the United States such as California and New York.

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8 Responses to “Eagle in Flight and Earth Day”


  1. April 22, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    We don’t have Earth day over here – at least I don’t think we do!

  2. April 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Interesting information on the eagle here. If you aren’t aware, Eagles have a mid-life change. I did a post on them a while back, if you care to check it out.

    http://orples.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/aging-eagles/

    In the meantime, thanks for checking out my blog. 🙂

  3. 3 Randy Roberts
    April 22, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Thanks for the info and the link.

  4. April 22, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    You are more than welcome. 🙂

  5. 5 Randy Roberts
    April 22, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    I am an historian and have run across fanciful stories before. I am often skeptical of such stories so I always seek another source to either confirm or dispute what seems to be a fanciful tale. The information on your blog seems to be false. Eagles do not go through a painful five month process of rebirth. It is a myth created from a motivational speech meant to cause people to think of their own means of rebirth. Unfortunately the original author of this fanciful story presented it as factual. The story of an Eagle being reborn through a process by which it smashes off its beak, grows a new one, then tears out its talons and grows new ones and then tears out its feathers so it can grow new ones and then be reborn and live another forty years is false.

  6. April 22, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Thank you Randy for taking the time to circle back and clarify that information. This was a post I’d made based on an e-mail I’d recieved a year or so ago. Your are right, I should have checked it out before posting, I guess. I must say that I’m embarrashed, but am grateful to you for setting the record straight. I think given this conversation, I will remove the post from my blog.

  7. 7 Randy Roberts
    April 22, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Sorry…but it would have been cool if it were true.

  8. April 22, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Lot’s of things would be cool if they were true, however, I’d rather know the truth, so I really do appreciate the head’s up. 😉


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